North Carolina Elections Board to review results of new election audit tests | Jordan Wilkie/Carolina Public Press

The N.C. State Board of Elections will consider the results of testing a new kind of post-election audit in North Carolina this week. The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to certify the results of November’s municipal elections. As part of that process, the board reviews data and reports from the county and state election officials to make sure they ran they elections fairly and accurately. This time, the board has an extra tool for reviewing results from the 17 counties that test-ran “risk-limiting audits,” or RLAs, last week. RLAs are “tabulation audits,” or the kind of post-election check using statistical analysis to make sure the machines that read ballots and count votes did so accurately. The counties participating in the pilot are Beaufort, Brunswick, Buncombe, Carteret, Cleveland, Granville, Harnett, Henderson, Johnston, Mecklenburg, Scotland, Stokes, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wayne and Wilkes. State and county election officials are looking to RLAs to increase public confidence in elections and to improve the efficiency of election administration, though county election officials told Carolina Public Press more work remains before RLAs are likely to achieve either goal in North Carolina. The state board ran the audit pilots to find ways it can improve the process before moving forward, according to spokesperson Pat Gannon. North Carolina follows in the footsteps of Colorado, Virginia and Rhode Island, which require RLAs after elections. Another dozen states are piloting RLAs or have made them an option. The audits are recommended by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and a bevy of other state, federal and good-governance organizations. Depending on the RLA report state election staff presents on Tuesday, the board could decide to run another round of pilots in more — or all — counties in the spring primary elections, Gannon said. Alternatively, the board could decide to take no further action.

Full Article: NC Elections Board to review results of new election audit tests – Carolina Public Press

Ohio: Attempted breach of Lake County election network draws FBI and state scrutiny | Amy Gardner, Emma Brown and Devlin Barrett/The Washington Post

Federal and state investigators are examining an attempt to breach an Ohio county’s election network that bears striking similarities to an incident in Colorado earlier this year, when government officials helped an outsider gain access to the county voting system in an effort to find fraud. Data obtained in both instances were distributed at an August “cyber symposium” on election fraud hosted by MyPillow executive Mike Lindell, an ally of former president Donald Trump who has spent millions of dollars promoting false claims that the 2020 election was rigged. The attempted breach in Ohio occurred on May 4 inside the county office of John Hamercheck (R), chairman of the Lake County Board of Commissioners, according to two individuals with knowledge of the incident, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigations. State and county officials said no sensitive data were obtained, but they determined that a private laptop was plugged into the county network in Hamercheck’s office, and that the routine network traffic captured by the computer was circulated at the same Lindell conference as the data from the Colorado breach. Together, the incidents in Ohio and Colorado point to an escalation in attacks on the nation’s voting systems by those who have embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud. Now, some Trump loyalists pushing for legal challenges and partisan audits are also targeting local officials in a bid to gain access to election systems — moves that themselves could undermine election security. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the bureau is investigating the incident in Lake County but declined to comment further. Investigators are trying to determine whether someone on the fifth floor of the Lake County government building improperly accessed the computer network and whether any laws were violated.

Full Article: Attempted breach of Ohio county election network draws FBI and state scrutiny – The Washington Post

Pennsylvania: Questions remain about GOP’s election ‘investigation’ | Marc Levy/Associated Press

Many questions remain unanswered Tuesday as to what Republicans in Pennsylvania’s Senate can accomplish from what they call a “forensic investigation” into last year’s presidential election now that they have hired a contractor that has not pointed to any experience in elections. Senate Republicans last week hired the Iowa-based Envoy Sage onto a $270,000 contract to help carry out the undertaking, fueled by pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies in a search for fraud across battleground states to back up their baseless allegations that the election was stolen. In a brief conference call with reporters Tuesday, Steve Lahr, Envoy Sage’s president, said the company could hire people or subcontractors with expertise, if necessary. … Mark Lindeman, a political scientist who has written on and consulted on post-election audits, said many people have experience in working closely with various kinds of election records and equipment, such as paper ballots, vote totals and registration and voting records. “Experience matters because novices can misinterpret the routine quirks of elections as anomalies or evidence of fraud,” said Lindeman, who works for Verified Voting, which advocates for election integrity and the responsible use of election technology. For instance, Lindeman said, Republicans’ widely discredited election “audit” carried out in Arizona’s Maricopa County was riddled with unfounded allegations based on basic misunderstandings. “Inexperienced, partisan consultants tend to leap to invidious conclusions,” Lindeman said. “They shouldn’t lead serious investigations.”

Full Article: Questions remain about GOP’s election ‘investigation’ | AP News

Tennessee Secretary of State backs future election audits | Sam Stockard/Tennessee Lookout

Secretary of State Tre Hargett confirmed this week he is supporting a move to audit Tennessee’s elections, but maybe not for the 2020 count, which has been much-maligned by Republicans nationally. In an abbreviated interview Wednesday with the Tennessee Lookout, Hargett said an audit bill will be forthcoming in the 2022 legislative session. Hargett referred to comments made by State Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins at an October meeting when a Williamson County group clashed with the State Election Commission over the need for a forensic audit to stop voter fraud in Tennessee. “There’s going to be legislation next time regarding post-election audits,” Hargett said as he left a meeting of the State Funding Board at the Cordell Hull Building. Hargett didn’t provide many details, such as potential cost. He isn’t so sure, either, about legislation by Sen. Janice Bowling, which would require a forensic audit of the 2020 election. Hargett said he would have to read the legislation and noted if the Legislature tells his office to conduct one, or the governor signs it into law, then he would “do what we need to do.”

Full Article: Stockard on the Stump: Secretary of State backs future election audits – Tennessee Lookout

Wisconsin: University experts dissect Audit Bureau’s election report on GOP-led 2020 election investigation | Maggie Degnan/The Badger Herald

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau’s report about the Wisconsin 2020 presidential election headed by state Republicans claims to have found issues with the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s administration of the election. The audit found inconsistencies in the administration of the 2020 election but no widespread fraud. The results of the audit are centered around first of two investigative reports Republican lawmakers have requested. Findings in the audit found four people may have voted twice out of over three million ballots total. Eleven people died before Nov. 3 and eight people with ongoing felony sentences may have voted. Test of voting machines found that 59 of 60 machines tested accurately counted ballots, though the one out of 60 was docked because of insufficient information about whether the machine worked or not. According to the audit, the Wisconsin Elections Commission gave guidance to election officials that were not compliant with state law. The audit cites examples such as WEC deciding election officials could adjourn for the night without counting all ballots and moved polling places not getting signatures from the Department of Transportation for people who voted online.

Full Article: UW experts dissect Audit Bureau’s election report on GOP-led 2020 election investigation · The Badger Herald

‘Terrifying for American democracy’: is Trump planning for a 2024 coup? | Ed Pilkington/The Guardian

At 1.35pm on 6 January, the top Republican in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, stood before his party and delivered a dire warning. If they overruled the will of 81 million voters by blocking Joe Biden’s certification as president in a bid to snatch re-election for the defeated candidate, Donald Trump, “it would damage our Republic forever”. Five minutes before he started speaking, hundreds of Trump supporters incited by the then president’s false claim that the 2020 election had been stolen broke through Capitol police lines and were storming the building. McConnell’s next remark has been forgotten in the catastrophe that followed – the inner sanctums of America’s democracy defiled, five people dead, and 138 police officers injured. He said: “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again. Every four years would be a scramble for power at any cost.” Eleven months on, McConnell’s words sound eerily portentous. What could be construed as an anti-democratic scramble for power at any cost is taking place right now in jurisdictions across the country. Republican leaders loyal to Trump are vying to control election administrations in key states in ways that could drastically distort the outcome of the presidential race in 2024. With the former president hinting strongly that he may stand again, his followers are busily manoeuvring themselves into critical positions of control across the US – from which they could launch a far more sophisticated attempt at an electoral coup than Trump’s effort to hang on to power in 2020.

Full Article: Terrifying for American democracy’: is Trump planning for a 2024 coup? | Donald Trump | The Guardian

Menace Enters the Republican Mainstream | Lisa Lerer and Astead W. Herndon/The New York Times

At a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats. “When do we get to use the guns?” he said as the audience applauded. “How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a “fair” question. In Ohio, the leading candidate in the Republican primary for Senate blasted out a video urging Republicans to resist the “tyranny” of a federal government that pushed them to wear masks and take F.D.A.-authorized vaccines. “When the Gestapo show up at your front door,” the candidate, Josh Mandel, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, said in the video in September, “you know what to do.” And in Congress, violent threats against lawmakers are on track to double this year. Republicans who break party ranks and defy former President Donald J. Trump have come to expect insults, invective and death threats — often stoked by their own colleagues and conservative activists, who have denounced them as traitors. From congressional offices to community meeting rooms, threats of violence are becoming commonplace among a significant segment of the Republican Party. Ten months after rioters attacked the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, and after four years of a president who often spoke in violent terms about his adversaries, right-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable in opposition to those who dislodged him from power.

Full Article: Menace Enters the Republican Mainstream – The New York Times

National: It’s been one year since Trump fired the CISA director | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency never reversed its position that the 2020 election was the most secure in history. Nor did it take down a rumor control page that had drawn the president’s ire because it knocked back many of the phony election conspiracy theories he’d embraced. And one year later, the agency has grown immensely in stature and importance, guiding the government through a string of cyber crises, including a wave of ransomware attacks that have threatened the economy and national security. CISA has strong support from both parties. There’s even a bipartisan bill aimed at shielding the agency from similar political interventions by giving the director a five-year term. Krebs’s firing was undoubtedly traumatic for CISA employees who had to soldier on without their leader and amid fear of political retribution from the White House. After Krebs’s high-profile ouster, several CISA political appointees were terminated more quietly in the succeeding days. But in the following months it became a galvanizing event, agency insiders and observers say. “It steeled our resolve. We saw what happened to Chris. We doubled down on the work and supporting election officials,” Matt Masterson, who was CISA’s senior adviser for election security at the time, told me. “It was something people could point to and say ‘we did a great job under tremendous pressure and this agency stood up for what was right,” Phil Reitinger, a former DHS cybersecurity official during the Obama administration, told me. Reitinger, who now leads the Global Cyber Alliance, compared it to the Saturday Night Massacre in which a series of Justice Department officials resigned rather than fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, thus paving the way for President Richard Nixon’s resignation. The events have become a symbol of pride for the agency for resisting political interference in its work.

 

Full Article: It’s been one year since Trump fired the CISA director – The Washington Post

National: New book says Trump allies pushed Defense Department to overturn election | Jordan Williams/The Hill

A newly released book claims that allies of former President Trump tried to push a top Defense Department official into overturning the 2020 election. According to the journalist Jonathan Karl’s book “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show,” which was published Tuesday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell both made calls to Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who was then acting as under secretary of Defense for intelligence and security, while Cohen-Watnick was traveling in the Middle East, ABC News reported. Flynn and Powell were among Trump’s most vocal allies as the former president sought to overturn the 2020 election based on unproven claims of voter fraud. Powell has since been hit with multi-billion dollar lawsuits from Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic over her election claims. Flynn, who was previously Cohen-Watnick’s boss at the Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Council, told the Pentagon official that he needed to immediately return to the United States because “there were big things about to happen,” per the book.

Full Article: New book says Trump allies pushed DoD to overturn election | TheHill

National: Trump adviser appointed to panel on US elections | Nicholas Riccardi/Associated Press

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has appointed to a federal election advisory board a prominent Republican attorney who assisted former President Donald Trump in his failed effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Cleta Mitchell was named to the Board of Advisors for the federal Election Assistance Commission. The advisory board does not have the ability to directly make policy but can recommend voluntary guidelines to the EAC. The EAC certifies voting systems and advises local election offices on compliance with federal election regulations. Mitchell was nominated by the Republican-appointed members on the commission and approved by a majority vote. Mitchell is a prominent Republican lawyer who joined Trump on a Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. On the call, Trump implored Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes for him to be declared the winner in the battleground state, which was won by President Joe Biden. Mitchell claimed she had found possible examples of fraud in the state, but the secretary of state’s office told her that her data was incorrect. Mitchell’s involvement in the call caused an outcry in the legal community that led to her departure from her longtime job at the law firm Foley & Lardner. She has since taken major roles with conservative groups pushing to tighten voting laws, directing an election initiative at the small government group FreedomWorks and serving as a fellow at the Conservative Partnership Institute, where she helps coordinate advocacy on voting issues.

Full Article: Trump adviser appointed to panel on US elections

National: Renewed urgency surrounds statewide campaigns as candidates cast doubts on elections | Alisa Wiersema and Meg Cunningham/ABC

More than a year after Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine election results were rebuffed at the state and national levels, a wave of Republican candidates across battleground states have made election administration and “integrity” central campaign messages – with more than a dozen still voicing doubt about the results of last year’s general election. An ABC News analysis of 12 high-profile battleground states reveals a trend: Republican candidates for state offices are either questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 election or casting significant doubt on how elections are conducted and votes are counted in their home states. The states examined include Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Florida. Across these states – five of which Trump won, and seven of which Joe Biden won – at least 15 Republican candidates running for statewide offices – governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general – have refused to acknowledge Biden’s win or made other comments directly challenging the validity of the 2020 election, according to an ABC News review of public statements, interviews and campaign websites. At least 18 GOP candidates in those politically critical states have alleged broader fraud related to 2020 election results. Across these states, at least 12 are using “election integrity” as a campaign issue, and in some cases, these candidates are also casting doubt on the administration of last year’s election. Furthermore, at least two candidates are attempting to align the concept of “election integrity” with election-related conspiracy theories.

 

Source: Renewed urgency surrounds statewide campaigns as candidates cast doubts on elections – ABC News

National: No, Constitutional Scholars Are Not “50/50” in Agreement With Donald Trump About Jan. 6 | Matthew A. Seligman/Slate

Donald J. Trump, constitutional scholar, has entered the chat. In a remarkable interview with Jon Karl published by Axios on Friday, Trump defended the Jan. 6 rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” on the grounds that “it’s common sense” that Pence should have overturned the Electoral College count.* Beneath the horrifying justification of political violence—the attempted assassination of the sitting vice president—there is a rotten foundation of truly terrible legal analysis. As I’ve explained in Slate and in scholarship, the vice president has no constitutional authority to reject electoral votes he doesn’t like. In the interview, Trump claimed that “50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them” on the vice president’s authority to unilaterally throw out election results. He’s wrong—at least if “constitutional scholars” means people who have read and understand the Constitution. Donald J. Trump, constitutional scholar, has entered the chat. In a remarkable interview with Jon Karl published by Axios on Friday, Trump defended the Jan. 6 rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” on the grounds that “it’s common sense” that Pence should have overturned the Electoral College count.* Beneath the horrifying justification of political violence—the attempted assassination of the sitting vice president—there is a rotten foundation of truly terrible legal analysis. As I’ve explained in Slate and in scholarship, the vice president has no constitutional authority to reject electoral votes he doesn’t like. In the interview, Trump claimed that “50/50, it’s right down the middle for the top constitutional scholars when I speak to them” on the vice president’s authority to unilaterally throw out election results. He’s wrong—at least if “constitutional scholars” means people who have read and understand the Constitution. Who are these “constitutional scholars” feeding Trump this radical view? Johnny McEntee, a 31-year-old former college football player with no legal training, sent a “memo” by text message to Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, claiming that “Jefferson Used His Position as VP to Win” the presidency by manipulating the electoral count and so Pence could as well.* (As I’ve explained, Jefferson did no such thing.) Rudy Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended to “protect the public,” falsely told Trump that there “is no question, none at all, that the VP can do this. That’s a fact. The Constitution gives him the authority not to certify. It goes back to the state legislatures.” And of course John Eastman, whose memo baldly asserted that “the fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter.”

Full Article: Constitutional scholars are not “50/50” in agreement with Donald Trump about Jan. 6.

California: Legal Experts Reignite Call for John Eastman Ethics Investigation | Erin Snodgrass/Business Insider

A nonpartisan election security nonprofit urged the California Bar Association to investigate John Eastman, a conservative attorney who counseled President Donald Trump. In a letter addressed to the Office of Chief Trial Counsel earlier this week, legal experts with the States United Democracy Center called for the probe into Eastman, who penned a memo arguing how then-Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the 2020 election results during the January 6 election certification process. Six weeks after filing an initial complaint in October, the States United Democracy Center followed up on Eastman’s “potential legal ethics violations” with a new letter on Tuesday citing “a great deal” of new evidence that “strongly confirms the allegations of ethical conduct” in its initial complaint. A two-page memo first published by CNN in September and obtained by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa for their book “Peril,” detailed Eastman’s proposed argument for how the Trump administration could maintain the White House despite losing the 2020 presidential election.  Insider later acquired a six-page version of Eastman’s memo, which suggested Pence toss out the results from seven states and then redirect the election to the House of Representatives. The memo prompted scrutiny surrounding Eastman, a former clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, for his advisory to Trump during the final year of his presidency.

Full Article: Legal Experts Reignite Call for John Eastman Ethics Investigation

National: Conspiracy theories are an election security threat, new report says | Joseph Marks/The Washington Post

Conspiracy theories and phony fraud claims are one of the biggest threats to secure elections whose results are accepted by the American people, a report out this morning argues. The report from the Aspen Institute think tank’s Commission on Information Disorder urges a surge in federal funding to combat the sort of conspiracy theories promoted by former president Donald Trump and his allies. Given the new attacks on democracy, election officials need to be given more resources and more communication capabilities, Chris Krebs, one of the co-chairs of the commission, told me. “Even if elections are 100 percent bulletproof, there’s still plenty of opportunity for the bad guys to stoke fear and doubt,” Krebs said. During the 2020 election, Krebs led the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which was the lead government agency working on election security. Trump fired him by tweet partly for disputing baseless claims that the election was rigged. Other co-chairs of the commission are longtime TV journalist Katie Couric and Rashad Robinson, president of the advocacy group Color of Change. The election security recommendations are part of a broad report that covers disinformation related to public health, climate change and a slew of other topics.

Full Article: Conspiracy theories are an election security threat, new report says – The Washington Post

Colorado: FBI Raids Home of Election Official Accused of QAnon Leak | Tom Porter/Business Insider

The FBI on Tuesday raided the home of a Colorado elections official accused of leaking election machine data that later appeared on a site linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials were involved in searching the home of Tina Peters, the former Mesa County Clerk, as well as the homes of three of her associates, the Mesa County District Attorney’s office told local media. “We executed four federally court-authorized operations today to gather evidence in connection with the investigation into the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office,” District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told Colorado Politics. “We did so with assistance from the DA’s office from the 21st Judicial District, the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI.” When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Denver field office told Insider that its agents had conducted “authorized law enforcement actions’ on Tuesday in relation to an ongoing investigation. A judge last month banned Peters from overseeing elections in the state after Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, accused her in a lawsuit of involvement in leaking sensitive elections data, Colorado’s CPR News outlet reported. According to Griswold’s lawsuit, the data was taken when Peters invited an unauthorized person to attend a meeting between representatives from the election machine company and county election officials last year.

Full Article: FBI Raids Home of Colorado Election Official Accused of QAnon Leak

National: Bipartisan commission urges US take immediate steps to curb online misinformation | Maggie Miller/The Hill

A report from a bipartisan commission published Monday recommends that U.S. government and social media platform leaders take a series of immediate steps to curb the “crisis of trust and truth” stemming from online disinformation and misinformation. The report, put out by the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder, puts forward recommendations that can be taken to address issues including election security and COVID-19 disinformation and misinformation online, painting a picture of an urgent moment to take action. “This crisis demands urgent attention and a dedicated response from all parts of society,” the commissioners wrote in the report. “Every type and level of leader must think seriously about this crisis and their role in it. Each can and should enter this conversation, genuinely listening to the problems and taking real ownership of solutions.” The report outlines dozens of recommendations to address the crisis, including creating a “national response strategy” to establish roles and responsibilities for fighting misinformation across the executive branch, investing in local journalism, diversifying social media platform workforces and investing in civic education. “At the time of this writing, the Federal Government lacks any clear leadership and strategy to the disinformation problem, despite its own acknowledgment of the impact on public health, elections, businesses, technology, and continued campaigns on communities of color, including immigrants and refugees,” the report reads. “This lack of leadership, ownership, or strategy is hampering efforts, slowing response times, and duplicating efforts.”

Full Article: Bipartisan commission urges US take immediate steps to curb online misinformation | TheHill

Louisiana lawmakers restart process to purchase voting machines | Rachel ipro/Louisiana Illuminator

Louisiana started up a new process again for purchasing voting machines Wednesday, when it convened a new commission that will seek public input and vet the vendors applying for the state’s voting machine contract that could be worth $100 million. But Louisiana’s attempts to replace its outdated election machines hasn’t gone smoothly over the last few years. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s two attempts to replace machines failed due to public concern about voter fraud and Republican backlash. Lawmakers on the Voting System Commission stressed bipartisan support and transparency, saying the public would be informed at every step of selecting the state’s new voting systems. In 2018, a contract with the state’s current vendor Dominion Voting Systems, was voided due to an alleged mishandling of the bidding process. In March of this year, Ardoin reopened the bidding process, only to cancel again after he was accused of favoring Dominion. He was also criticized for not allowing more public discussion of the new system, according to the Associated Press. Ardoin has also had to navigate multiple conspiracy theories surrounding Dominion Voting Systems, which supplied the state’s current machines. But Ardoin said the newly-formed commission on voting system selection was making a fresh start. “This commission is not about the past but about our future, a future that provides Louisiana citizens with confidence that their vote will be accurately counted,” Ardoin said. “This is not a commission for political bias whether we are Republicans, Democrats or independents. This is a commission of elected leaders, election officials, community activists and professionals.”

Full Article: Louisiana lawmakers restart process to purchase voting machines – Louisiana Illuminator

National: Memo from Trump attorney Jenna Ellis outlined how Pence could overturn election, says new book | Libby Cathey/ABC News

In a memo not made public until now, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows emailed to Vice President Mike Pence’s top aide, on New Year’s Eve, a detailed plan for undoing President Joe Biden’s election victory, ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl reports. The memo, written by former President Donald Trump’s campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, is reported for the first time in Karl’s upcoming book, “Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show” — demonstrating how Pence was under even more pressure than previously known to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Ellis, in the memo, outlined a multi-step strategy: On Jan. 6, the day Congress was to certify the 2020 election results, Pence was to send back the electoral votes from six battleground states that Trump falsely claimed he had won. The memo said that Pence would give the states a deadline of “7pm eastern standard time on January 15th” to send back a new set of votes, according to Karl.

Full Article: Memo from Trump attorney outlined how Pence could overturn election, says new book – ABC News

Voting Blogs: The Growing Election Sabotage Movement | Michael Waldman/Brennan Center for Justice

No doubt, Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election had absurd elements. (The Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference? The Kraken?) It culminated, of course, in the deadly chaos of the Capitol insurrection. Now, the more we learn, the more we realize there was a concerted plan to steal the election and upend the results. Next time it won’t be so amateurish. In fact, Trump’s allies are systematically removing obstacles to stealing elections in states across the country. The Brennan Center published a report this week documenting the campaign. Two state legislatures have bestowed upon themselves the power to remove and replace local election officials with partisan operatives. Six states have passed laws threatening election officials with new or heightened criminal penalties. Three states have robbed election officials of the power to properly regulate partisan poll monitors in the polling place. Five states launched phony partisan reviews of last year’s election results led by biased actors who employed inadequate safeguards. To the longstanding problem of vote suppression, add election sabotage. Some state legislators are trying to go even further. How much further? In 2021, lawmakers in seven states — Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Idaho, and Oklahoma — introduced bills to give elected officials the power to overturn an election. Thankfully, none of those bills passed this time around, but their widespread consideration is itself alarming. The Arizona bill, which is among the most shocking to democratic sensibilities, reads: “The legislature may vote to reject or confirm the preliminary results of the election.” It garnered seven sponsors. Just five years ago, the idea that politicians should have the power to overturn an election would have been unthinkable. Indeed, what is the point of voting if the politicians in power can simply wave away the result?

Full Article: The Growing Election Sabotage Movement | Brennan Center for Justice

Alaska: Cyber review finds government websites ‘critically vulnerable’ to hackers | Linda F. Hersey/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

The state of Alaska is not keeping up with best practices for protecting its computer systems, according to an independent cyber review that found problems with patching software, maintaining certificates and securing web pages. Burke Stephenson, a consultant with Cybersec Innovation Partners, recently submitted the 28-page review to the joint Senate State of Affairs and Judiciary committees. The state government’s web infrastructure is in “a critically vulnerable position,” according to the findings. The report pointed to problems on public web pages available to anyone with a computer and internet access. Stephenson’s testimony before the joint Senate committee prompted lawmakers togo into executive session. They cited concerns about conveying sensitive information to cybercriminals for the decision to gointo the private meeting. But Stephenson said in public testimony the risks are readily known to hackers, as they are vulnerabilities that persist on state government public websites. He described the problems, which involve system maintenance and upkeep, as prevalent not just to the state of Alaska but across governments and the private sector.

Full Article: Cyber review finds government websites ‘critically vulnerable’ to hackers | Alaska News | newsminer.com

Arizona Election Audit Reinforced Doubt About 2020 Election Results | Erin Snodgrass/Business Insider

When organizers of the troubled GOP-led election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona, finally released results from the months-long, oft-delayed recount in September, the findings confirmed that President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump fairly in the largest county in the once-solidly red state. But despite the additional proof of Biden’s success, the controversial “audit” actually played a role in increasing the level of doubt surrounding the historic presidential election, according to a new Monmouth University poll. Earlier this year, the state’s GOP-controlled Senate chose Cyber Ninjas, a private firm, to carry out another count of the 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, where Biden beat Trump by more than 45,000 votes. Billed by Senate Republicans as a mechanism to instill faith in US elections, the controversial audit was funded by right-wing donors and widely criticized, even by other local Republicans in the state. Maricopa County’s GOP-led Board of Supervisors said the recount’s draft reports were “littered with errors and faulty conclusions.” Even still, the effort found that Biden did beat Trump, resulting in an additional 99 votes for Biden and a loss of 261 votes for Trump. In a Monmouth University poll of 811 adults in the US by telephone from November 4 to 8 of this year, the majority of Americans, 36% said the review proved that Biden won the county fairly and another 21% said they aren’t sure about the report but guess that it probably showed Biden’s legitimate victory.

Full Article: Arizona Election Audit Reinforced Doubt About 2020 Election Results

Pennsylvania House Republicans threaten to remove Lehigh County elections board unless it rescinds acceptance of undated ballots | Ford Turner/The Morning Call

Top Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday threatened to remove members of the Lehigh County Board of Elections unless they rescind a decision to allow counting of mail-in ballots without dates that were submitted in the municipal election this month. The Republicans, who included House Speaker Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County, said in a letter to board members dated Wednesday that failure to take action promptly would lead House members to “seek your removal from office using the authority vested to the House of Representatives” for impeachment proceedings. Republicans hold the majority in the House and hence control its committees and their actions. The Lehigh board is composed of Chair Dan McCarthy, Doris Glaessmann and Jane Ervin, who are volunteers. On Monday, they voted unanimously to count 260 mail-in ballots that were submitted without dates on the outer envelopes as required, according to Tim Benyo, chief clerk to the board. Following that decision, two candidates for a Lehigh County judge seat — Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen — said they would go to court with unsettled questions about the state’s vote-by-mail law. Ritter has a 74-vote lead over Cohen, according to unofficial totals.

Full Article: Pennsylvania House Republicans threaten to remove Lehigh County elections board unless it rescinds acceptance of undated ballots – The Morning Call

California: How one company came to control San Francisco’s elections | Jeff Elder/The San Francisco Examiner

For the past 13 years, San Francisco Elections Director John Arntz has cultivated a close relationship with a voting machine company that has become the sole bidder on The City’s business, while doubling its rates. During that time period, Dominion Voting Systems has won more than $20 million in city contracts while Arntz’s department has become dependent on the company to hold elections. At the same time, the Elections Department has failed to make progress on a possible solution – “open source” voting technology that would provide long-term “cost savings, increased election security, and public ownership over the critical infrastructure of democracy,” according to a civil grand jury convened by The City. Correspondence obtained by The Examiner through an open records request shows Arntz, over the course of his business relationship with Dominion, sent or forwarded more than 400 emails to a salesman at the firm, conferring with him on technology projects that could threaten the firm’s business and going as far as forwarding a competitor’s query about The City’s voting machines needs. Arntz, a 19-year City Hall veteran who makes $260,000 a year and controls a budget of $31 million, has relied heavily on Dominion Voting Systems and one particular sales executive named Steven Bennett, documents show. Arntz disputes that. “I don’t deal with him often,” Arntz told The Examiner about Bennett, who has handled Dominion’s San Francisco account for the past 13 years. Arntz also told The Examiner he wasn’t aware Dominion listed him as a reference when the voting machine firm was trying to land new clients. Documents show Arntz was listed as the salesman’s reference on bids sent to state governments, and that San Francisco’s elections director gave enthusiastic testimonials to prospective customers on behalf of Dominion.

Full Article: How one company came to control San Francisco’s elections – The San Francisco Examiner

Pennsylvania Senate GOP identifies vendor that will ‘conduct a thorough and impartial election investigation’ | Jan Murphy/PennLive

The GOP-led Senate committee has identified the private contractor it will hire to assist in its taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 presidential election. A document shared with Republican senators Thursday evening obtained by PennLive identifies the firm as Dubuque, Iowa-based Envoy Sage LLC. The firm bills itself on its website as “delivering ground truth” and identifies itself as specializing in research, investigation, program management and communications. The document states the firm “meets all the key needs to conduct a thorough and impartial election investigation.” It also states the firm has no political association with candidates who appeared on the 2020 or 2021 ballots in Pennsylvania. Among other qualifications it lists, Envoy Sage has worked with the Department of Defense under Republican and Democratic administrations and has decades of experience in handling sensitive and classified information. Senate Republican spokesman Jason Thompson declined comment about the document. It doesn’t indicate how much the firm will be paid although the costs will come out of the GOP caucus’ accounts.

Full Article: Senate GOP identifies vendor that will ‘conduct a thorough and impartial election investigation’ – pennlive.com

Colorado: Legal battle, ethics complaint against embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters persist | Saja Hindi/The Denver Post

The 2021 election in Mesa County, and subsequently the question of who would oversee it, may have ended, but the controversy surrounding Republican County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters has not. The case involving Peters’ counterclaims in response to Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s lawsuit is ongoing, with new filings due on Wednesday. The secretary of state’s lawsuit had resulted in a Mesa County District Court judge barring Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley from administering the Nov. 2 election. A joint federal and state investigation into possible criminal charges against Peters over an alleged election equipment security breach is continuing, according to the district attorney’s office on Friday. A Mesa County activist’s complaint against Peters with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission is pending. And the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is suing the clerk again, this time for alleged violations of campaign finance law. The saga with Peters, who was elected to her office in 2018, began when she allegedly allowed an unauthorized man access to a secure area in the county elections office in May — with the help of Knisley and one of the county’s election managers, Sandra Brown, according to the lawsuit — and passwords from the voting systems were posted online in August. Knisley was suspended in August for an unrelated workplace conduct investigation and later charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor cyber crime related to allegedly returning to the office, despite the suspension, and using county equipment.

Full Article: Legal battle, ethics complaint against embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters persist

Michigan: Adams Township residents have mixed feelings on clerk issues | Corey Murray/Hillsdale Daily News

Adams Township residents expressed mixed feelings on the ongoing saga between Township Clerk Stephanie Scott and Michigan’s Secretary of State during their regularly scheduled business meeting Nov. 7.  The meeting was well attended and the first held since issues between the S.O.S. and Scott intensified throughout October culminating in a search warrant being executed by the Michigan State Police to recover a missing piece of election equipment days before the Nov. 2 special election where a school renewal operating millage was voted on.  Adams Township Supervisor introduced the topic almost an hour into the meeting and said Scott herself may or may not answer questions as she is currently consulting with an attorney she has hired to represent her in the matters. Scott was stripped of her official election duties in late October after expressing concerns with voting integrity Oct. 11 and calling into question the accuracy of voting equipment. The S.O.S. in a news release alleged that Scott failed to agree to comply with scheduling a public accuracy test prior to the Nov. 2 election. Nichols explained the timeline of events to over 30 members of the community in attendance, with about half living in Adams Township and others from Hillsdale County concerned with election integrity.

Full Article: Adams Township residents have mixed feelings on clerk issues

South Carolina: Voting machine issues reported in Richland County on morning of election runoff | Noah Feit/The State

As Columbians went the polls Tuesday in the runoff elections for mayor and a city council seat, reports surfaced of voting machines not working at multiple precincts. Initially, issues were reported in 12 of 70-plus voting precincts in Richland County. But the problem could be more widespread and might have affected all voting locations, Alexandria Stephens, Richland County’s Director of Voter Registration and Elections, told The State. Stephens said information on the specific polling places that reported problems was not available. “We’ve had some issues with electronic poll books,” Stephens said. “There is no issue with voting. People can still vote.” The electronic poll books are used to check in voters, Stephens said. The problem meant the bar code used to select a a specific style of ballot was not working, South Carolina Election Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire told The State. This did not prevent the ability to vote, it just created some extra work for poll managers, according to Whitmire. Because the ballots were not being activated by the bar code, poll managers had to take voters to the machines and call up the ballots, Whitmire said.

Full Article: Columbia, SC runoff election for mayor has problem at polls | The State

Ohio Republican says Trump may try to ‘steal’ 2024 election if he loses | Mychael Schnell/The Hill

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) on Sunday said former President Trump may try to “steal” the presidential election in 2024 if he ultimately decides to enter the race but ends up losing. Gonzalez, during a pretaped interview with co-host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Trump has evaluated what went wrong on Jan. 6 — when Congress certified the Electoral College vote despite the former president’s requests for the ballots to be rejected — and is now installing loyal personnel at levels of the government to do “exactly what he wants them to do.” “I think any objective observer would come to this conclusion that he [Trump] has evaluated what went wrong on Jan. 6, why is it that he wasn’t able to steal the election? Who stood in his way? Every single American institution is just run by people. And you need the right people to make the right decision in the most difficult times,” Gonzalez said. “He’s going systematically through the country and trying to remove those people and install people who are going to do exactly what he wants them to do, who believe the big lie, who go along with anything he says,” he added. The Ohio Republican, who is not seeking reelection, said he believes Trump’s actions now are “pushing towards one of two outcomes. He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, he’ll just try to steal it, but he’ll try to steal it with his people in those positions.”

Full Article: Ohio Republican says Trump may try to ‘steal’ 2024 election if he loses | TheHill

Pennsylvania’s Desperate Scramble to Stop an Insider Election Threat | Russell Berman/The Atlantic

The people who fear the most for the future of American democracy weren’t watching the election returns in Virginia and New Jersey earlier this month for clues about next year’s midterms. These voting-rights advocates didn’t pay much attention to who won mayoral or school-board races. Instead, they’ve spent the past two weeks trying to discern how many Donald Trump loyalists captured control of elections in a pivotal 2024 swing state: Pennsylvania. Voters across the Keystone State decided who will run their polling places in the next two elections, but you could forgive them if they didn’t realize it. Buried near the bottom of their ballots on November 2 were a pair of posts: judge of elections and inspector of elections, bureaucratic titles that most people have never heard of. In many counties, the contests didn’t even make the first page of local races, falling far beneath those for supreme-court justice, county executive, and the school board—even tax collector and constable merited higher placement. Yet the people who hold these election positions will play an important—if often overlooked—role in determining whether elections in Pennsylvania go off smoothly. Grassroots Republican supporters of Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat targeted these posts throughout the state, and many of them won their race last week. “There hasn’t been a sophisticated, concerted effort to sabotage elections like the one we’re facing now,” Scott Seeborg, the Pennsylvania state director for the nonpartisan group All Voting Is Local, told me. For the next four years, judges and inspectors of elections will supervise polling places and ensure that votes are properly tabulated. Individually, they preside over a single precinct covering, at most, a few thousand ballots. But in the aggregate, the decisions made at such a hyperlocal level could tip close statewide or congressional elections, says Victoria Bassetti, a senior adviser to the nonpartisan States United Democracy Center. “It could add up, precinct after precinct after precinct,” Bassetti told me. Biased judges or inspectors might, directly or indirectly, skew a vote or two per precinct. “If people who are biased are elected to serve in these local positions anywhere in the country,” she said, “it ultimately could have a huge impact on how our democracy functions.”

Full Article: Pennsylvania Hopes to Stop an Insider Election Threat – The Atlantic

Virginia lawmaker who called for ‘martial law’ to steal election will run for Congress | Nick Vachon/The American Independent

On Wednesday morning, Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase announced her campaign for the state’s 7th Congressional District. The district is currently represented by Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who beat incumbent Republican Dave Brat in 2018 to become the first Democrat elected to represent the district in more than 40 years. Chase, who once called herself “Trump in heels,” told the Washington Post Wednesday that her campaign will mirror that of Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, with a focus on the idea that “critical race theory” is being taught in Virginia schools and on ending vaccine and mask mandates. Chase has denied the existence of racism — except for “reverse racism” — because she had personally “never seen systemic racism or any of that.” Earlier this year, Chase earned bipartisan condemnation for supporting rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an insurrection that left five people dead and hundreds injured. Chase has promoted former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him. She once said Trump should impose “martial law” to prevent President Joe Biden from assuming office. Chase herself spoke at the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that directly preceded the storming of the Capitol building. She also used campaign funds to attend the rally, and later called the insurrectionists “patriots who love their country.”

Full Article: VA lawmaker who called for ‘martial law’ to steal election will run for Congress